The downward spiral of Thoresby Colliery...

Thorsby Colliery.
Thorsby Colliery.

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer has expressed his frustration that little is being done to preserve any kind of future for Thoresby Colliery.

It is thought more than 200 jobs - a third of the workforce - has already been shed from the pit since it was announced that UK Coal would wind down the operation, along with Kellingley in South Yorkshire, before closing both next year.

They said they needed more than £20m to keep it going until then, including a £10m injection from the Government.

But Mark Spencer says they are still yet to take the cash, and time is running out.

He says millions of pounds worth of coal could still be mined from Thoresby over a number of years, but only if work would start on a new coalface soon.

The Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) said that up to £65m worth of coal could still be mined from Thoresby, with start-up costs from as little as £19m, but with the global price of coal remaining low, they have failed to attract interest.

Without the Government money, Mr Spencer fears extending its future is diminishing rapidly.

He said: “They (UK Coal) are still messing around.

“The Government are still stood there with a £10m cheque in its hand saying ‘we are here to help’.

“How can we help if they still won’t take the cheque?

“It might seem like good news that they don’t need to take the money to continue, but we are behind in the development work at Thoresby to continue in to the next coal face.

“They are removing coal from the current face, but that’s only bringing the closure of the pit closer.

“There are too many parties trying to justify their position and not solving the long-term future of the colliery. It’s so frustrating.

“It’s been a week away for six months but we still want to get this plan up and running .

“Who knows what can be done. The longer they delay the closer it gets to being unsavable.”

But UK Coal have denied that they are ‘dragging their heels’ and said they are still working towards a ‘managed closure’.

Spokesman Alison Reid said: “These deals take time, it’s not a case of UK Coal not taking money that has been on the table, you have got to have negotiations.

“There is no change really, the deal is that we are talking to the Government on a regular basis.

“It’s business as usual under difficult circumstances and we are moving forward.”